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The Farewell (2019)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 9 August 2019 (USA)
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A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

Director:

Lulu Wang

Writer:

Lulu Wang
Reviews
Popularity
508 ( 144)

Awkwafina Takes Dramatic Leap in 'The Farewell'

At Sundance 2019, Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina describes how her first leading role in the dramatic comedy The Farewell led to an, um, "empathy orgy" with the cast and crew.

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6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shuzhen Zhao ... Nai Nai (as Zhao Shuzhen)
Awkwafina ... Billi
X Mayo ... Suze
Hong Lu Hong Lu ... Little Nai Nai (as Lu Hong)
Hong Lin Hong Lin ... Doctor Wu (as Lin Hong)
Tzi Ma ... Haiyan
Diana Lin ... Lu Jian
Yang Xuejian Yang Xuejian ... Mr. Li
Becca Khalil ... Shirley
Yongbo Jiang Yongbo Jiang ... Uncle Haibin (as Jiang Yongbo)
Han Chen Han Chen ... Hao Hao (as Chen Han)
Aoi Mizuhara ... Aiko
Xiang Li ... Aunty Ling (as Li Xiang)
Hongli Liu Hongli Liu ... Aunty Gao (as Liu Hongli)
Shimin Zhang Shimin Zhang ... Michael (as Zhang Shiming)
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Storyline

A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Billi struggles with her family's decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on an Actual Lie

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, brief language and some smoking. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

Mandarin | English | Japanese | Italian

Release Date:

9 August 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Farewell See more »

Filming Locations:

Changchun, China See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$355,662, 14 July 2019

Gross USA:

$17,626,385

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,532,668
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Little Nai Nai plays herself in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Billi: Okay, when were you guys going to tell me this? How could you let me find out like this?
Jian: How should I have told you? "Oh, your grandma's on the roof".
See more »

Connections

References Capricorn One (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Dangerous
Written by Bryan Steele
Performed by Bryan Steele feat. Britt Savage
Courtesy of Crucial Music Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Story That Millions of American Families Can Relate To
17 July 2019 | by rannynmSee all my reviews

The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, played tug-of-war with my emotions as I felt a constant push and pull between crying and smiling! I became a part of Billi's family, empathizing with the family members because they reminded me of my own.

Based on an actual lie, The Farewell tells the story of Billi (Awkwafina), a Chinese immigrant in America, and the relationship with her grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou), who lives in China. When Billi finds out that her grandmother only has a few months left to live, Billi must grapple with the fact that her family doesn't wish to tell Nai Nai. Along with dealing with Nai Nai's imminent death, Billi struggles with her Chinese and American roots.

The power of The Farewell comes from its simplicity. The most powerful scenes are those without music or dialogue, just Billi alone with her emotions. These scenes last several seconds and act as a window into Billi's heart. Awkwafina fully transforms into her character, letting her eyes convey Billi's indescribable pain to the audience. The cinematography by Anna Franquesa and Solano assists in amplifying the effect of the actors' emotions. The camera often frames Billi in the center of the screen, whether she is amongst a sea of people or alone in her room. Each time the camera does so, I felt how the sorrow forms a small bubble around her that is only visible to the audience, especially if she is pretending to smile or laugh. Once again, there is a simplicity in the cinematography that carries power. This simplicity even extends to the music by Alex Weston. The music is comprised of only a few string instruments and a simple melody. However, every time it plays it reflects the emotions of Billi, giving me goosebumps.

My favorite part is how this movie depicts immigrant families and their struggles. Being Indian, but born and brought up in America, I found several similarities between Nai Nai and my own mother and grandmother. At certain moments, I was laughing out loud because Nai Nai says something that I have heard countless times in my own family. In this way, The Farewell brings a story that millions of American families can relate to, that is not often found in Hollywood movies.

The message is that family is precious. I give The Farewell 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Be sure to check out The Farewell which opened in theatres nationwide July 12, 2019.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.


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